Buying a sheet can be surprisingly complicated with so many different types of fibres, weaves and finishes. Each of these characteristics can affect the qualities of a sheet. For example, some sheets will feel lightweight and crisp, while others may feel smooth and luxurious. Some are suitable for warmer climates and others provide extra warmth in the cold. The weave and fabric can also determine how wrinkle resitant a sheet is and whether it is allergy friendly.
There are three main elements of a sheet to understand to assist in getting your sheet right!.
1. Type of Fibre
Cotton is often considered the king of sheets and is a popular bedding choice. It has a cool, soft feel and as the fibre wicks moisture away from the skin you are less likely to wake feeling clammy and hot. Cotton fabric is also less inclined to stain than poly/cotton fabric as the dirt washes out more readily.
The premium of cotton is long staple cotton fibre which is noticeably softer and is less likely to pill or lint than regular short staple cotton. Long staple fibre is grown in areas with specific soil and climatic conditions. It is often labelled as Egyptian Cotton, Pima Cotton or Supima Cotton, depending on where the cotton originated from.
Poly/Cotton sheets are a blend of cotton and polyester (man-made fibre). They are generally hard wearing, innexpensive and wrinkle resistant. They typically are not as soft or as cool as a full cotton sheet. They are consequently less suited to a warm or humid climate.
Cotton rich sheets are a form of poly/cotton with a higher proportion of cotton fibre to improve the breathability and softness of the sheet. Most cotton rich sheets will have around a 60% cotton content.
Jersey fabric is renowned for its T-Shirt like softness. It is actually knitted rather than woven and is constructed from combed cotton. It is sometimes compared to flannelette however has the advantage of being more durable and can be used year round because of its high breathability - warm in winter cool in summer. It is typically a little more expensive than a standard cotton sheet.
Bamboo and Tencel (Made from Wood fibre) have very similar properties. Both are renowned for their super soft and silky feel. They have high moisture dispersion properties and breathability. They are also cool to sleep on when compared to other fibres. Bamboo and Tencel have natural anti-bacterial properties and are a good choice for allergy sufferers. While they typically only have a medium thread count they feel and look like a much higher thread count fabric.
Linen is made from the fibres of the flax plant and is more textured than a cotton fabric. It drapes beautifully on the bed and is a great option for warmer climates and summer as it has high absorbency and breathability. Linen is a premium fabric and can be expensive, it is often blended with cotton to make the fabric more affordable.
Microfibre is great if you dislike wrinkled sheets and it feels incredibly soft. It is a premium form of polyester with much finer fibres providing a very soft and smooth fabric. Microfibre sheets are lighter than cotton, hard wearing, quick drying and easy care. Microfibre is not as cool to sleep on as cotton and less suited to warmer or humid climates.
Flannelette Sheets are primarily a warm winter sheet made from brushed cotton to create extra warmth and softness. They are not as hard wearing as a standard cotton sheet and as they have been brushed and will pill as excess fibres are shed from the fabric. The thread count is not as relevant for flannelette as it is a loose knit weave. It is often reported as a cotton weight in terms of Grams Per Square Metre (GSM).
The weave affects the way a sheet feels, looks, and the longevity of the fabric. It will also influence the price.
A Percale weave is plain weave with a 180TC or higher. It is known for its longevity and crisp feel.
The sateen weave is currently a popular choice as it produces an extremely soft and smooth fabric with a distinctive sheen. This finish is enhanced if the fabric has been mercerized which provides added strength and durability. A sateen finish works best whith long staple cotton (Egyptian Cotton) which minimises any linting.
TIP - It's not all about thread count.
The thread count (TC) is calculated by the number of threads woven in a square inch of fabric (horizontal and vertical threads).
For several years consumers have been encouraged to consider thread count as the indicator of quality when it comes to sheets. It is not uncommon to see sheets heavily promoted with thread counts of 1000 threads or higher. While thread count has a bearing on quality, it's other factors such as the type of fibre, size of the yarn and the weave which all contribute to overall quality. A better quality fibre sheet of a lower thread count will typically be superior in quality to a sheet of a higher thread count but woven from low quality fibre.
The sweet spot for thread count is often considered to be between a 400-500 thread count. This provides for a very soft and breathable fabric with a lovely drape on the bed. It is also very durable and will typically wash and wear well.
A 1000TC is a very tightly woven fabric which will typically feel heavier and have a crisp but smooth texture. It may not breathe as well as a more open weave and is consequently less suitable for warmer climates. It is also important to note that some 1000TC sheets on the market may be constructed from 2 ply cotton which does artificially inflate the thread count.
Good quality every day sheets are typically around a 250-300 Thread Count.
|Size||Fitted Sheet||Flat Sheet|
|Long Single Bed:||91x203+40cm||NA|
|Long Single Bed Mega:||91x203+50cm||NA|
|King Single Bed:||107x203+40cm||200x274cm|
|Double Bed Mega:||137x193+50cm||NA|
|Queen Bed Mega:||152x203+50cm||285x274cm|
|Queen Bed Delux:||152x203+60cm||NA|
|King Bed Mega:||182x203+50cm||300x274cm|
|King Bed Delux:||182x203+60cm||330x285cm|
|Super King Bed Mega:||204x204+50cm||300x274cm|
|Super King Bed Delux:||204x204+60cm||330x300cm|
Sizing may vary slightly between brands.